This book is a collection of one-shots from writer Steve Niles, who is probably best known for co-creating the 30 Days of Night series.
The first story, Hyde is a modern reworking of the Jekyll and Hyde story. In this version, two brothers are close to creating a new anti-depressant drug but when their funding gets cut they decide to test the latest batch of the drug on themselves. After they awake from a blackout, they discover that the man responsible for shutting them down has been brutally murdered along with his family. The drug proves addictive but each use results in a trail of bloody mayhem – but who is too blame?
This first story was pretty good but, even as one of the longest in the book, was too short for me. I would have liked more on the relationship between the brothers and their transformed characters. The art by Nick Stakal was OK on this story. It reminded me a lot of Ted McKeever but not quite as good and the quality of the art varied quite a lot from page to page.
The second story is called The Very Big Monster Show. Theo is a boy who loves the classic movie monsters but in his father’s costume shop the children are all going wild for the newer horror movie monsters. Just at Hallowe’en, Theo stumbles across an old house inhabited by the classic monsters – Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, the Mummy and the creature from the Black Lagoon – who are sitting around moping about how no-one finds them scary anymore. But Theo’s belief in them encourages them to have one more go at being frightening.
This is quite a heartwarming tale of belief and courage with faith being rewarded in the end. It is also nostalgic for the lost era of movie monsters and the thrills they caused rather than than the easy gore laden shocks of the modern monsters. It could almost be a children’s tale if it wasn’t for the content. The illustrations by Butch Adams are very nice and are in a children’s picture book style.
The third part of the book was originally published by IDW as Horrorcide and features four short horror tales. The first two are stories in the same vein as the Future Shock tales from 2000AD. But the best one is a tale of revenge from beyond the grave where a repentant gang member is not forgiven by the family he helped murder. It also features some nice black and white art from Josh Medors.
As with most compilation books this is a mixed bag but I think it has enough goodies to make it worth a read.